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Kashaun Barnes erupts for 29 in Ramapo College win at Rutgers-Newark

After edging Westfield State University in the Rick Martin-Holiday Inn Express Tournament Championship Game on Saturday, the Ramapo College Roadrunners opened up NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) play at Rutgers-Newark on Tuesday night.

A low scoring contest in the first where the Scarlet Raiders led 23-17 at one point before the Roadrunners closed the gap to 27-25 despite shooting just 33 percent to the field compared to Rutgers-Newark 46 percent and forward Mark Thomas dropping in 12 points and Tyler Ofray adding seven points. Rob McWilliams led Ramapo College in scoring with nine points.

After notching a game high 18 points against Westfield State, Kashaun Barnes had a difficult first half netting just four points. However, that all changed in the second half as Barnes caught fire pouring in 25 points, knocking down 13 of 15 free throws, 5 of 7 from the perimeter and burying two triple’s.

“At the half, Coach (McBreen) told us in the locker room we will not be a good team if let teams shoot 46% from the field and needed a much better effort in the second half,” said Kashaun Barnes. “Coming together in the second half was the determining factor because they outworked us in the first half and we had 25 points that is not great for a team that wants to compete for a championship. Coach always emphasizes great teams’ close out games by making free throws and making all of them.”

Trailing 36-31 with 15 minutes remaining, Barnes drilled a trey and converted a lay-up tying up the contest. Barnes put the Roadrunners up for the first time since the 15-minute mark of the first half, canning another trifecta and a lead Ramapo would not relinquish the rest of the way.

The Roadrunners turned up the defensive intensity in the second half holding the Scarlet Raiders to 18 percent shooting from the field. Neutralizing Ofray and Thomas holding them to a combined 10 points on 4 of 17 shooting.

With Barnes sinking a pair of free throws to extend the advantage to 49-40 with eight minutes left, the Roadrunners hit a scoring drought of four minutes with but Rutgers-Newark was unable to cut further into the deficit due to Ramapo nailing 18 of 25 free throws in the second half and 24 out of 33 overall in the game for the 61-50 victory.

Head Coach Chuck McBreen on the win, “It was a huge win and tough to win on the road in the NJAC. We had to battle and it was a struggle in the first half, even in the second half we got a nine-point lead with nine minutes to go and didn’t score for about five minutes. We missed some easy opportunities and finally broke that streak with 4:20 to go when Andrew Morgan made one of two free throws and stopped the run. We got a little separation but it’s going to be a grind.”

“We knew what we were getting in Kashaun Barnes, second leading scorer and all-team conference last year, skilled defensively and taking better shots. He is slowly understanding the philosophy here at Ramapo and knows what he is capable of and saw that tonight.”

With the victory the Roadrunners improved to 5-0 (1-0 NJAC) and now get to enjoy eight days off with the Thanksgiving break before returning to the hardwood court on Wednesday, November 28 at Montclair State with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.

“They rebound the ball extremely well and have a lot of size,” McBreen said. “We’re banged up and need these eight days off to get healthy and rest. This is starting to take on the formula of last year’s success, we’re struggling to score with back to back 61’s but if we can hold someone to 50 there is a good chance we’re going to win. We are finding ways to be resilient and have been able to do that.”

Sunil Sunder Raj

Sunil is the Rockland Boulders Beat Writer for DoubleGSports.com and also covers North Jersey High School Sports
Sunil Sunder Raj

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